KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Sports Minister Steven Sim has rubbished claims that he and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman are not paying much attention to the views of officials and coaches in their bid to make their administration more athlete-centric.
Steven admitted that it was the ministry’s objective to give athletes a bigger say but he refuted the claim that it has come at the cost of officials and National Sports Associations (NSA).
“When we first came in, one of the biggest complaints was that athletes’ voices were not heard enough. Unfortunately when we began to give more attention to the athletes, these claims that we only listen to them (athletes) cropped up,” said Steven.
“Athletes are one of the major stakeholders (in sports) and they are the ones who will be training, competing and facing all sorts of pressures.
“So, it is unfair if they are not given the right attention, especially when it comes to gaining feedback from them.
“But this does not mean that the rights and voices of coaches, officials and NSAs are put aside. We practise a very open culture, so I do not think this issue should arise,” said Steven after meeting national swimmers, divers and underwater hockey players and officials at the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“Take today for example, I did not come here with layers and layers of (Steven’s) officials. Everyone is free to speak to me directly.
“I often visit the National Sports Council and National Sports Institute to meet the officials and we welcome feedback from all parties through any channels.”
Former Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was seen as a relatively approachable and athlete-friendly minister when compared to his more demure predecessors. And both Saddiq and Steven have continued the trend.
However, the ministry’s budget cuts have not made them popular with the NSAs, many of whom have felt the brunt of the reduction in allocation.